When i got Karl that tentacle was a recent amputee and had not even begun to heal. Thats crazy that it is the same arm!! In that photo he has the tip wound up a little. The first photo is a little fuzzy but i put it up because it was such a good shot of the eye spot. When Karl plays with my hand he usually uses the front arms for grabbing me and the back arms for holding onto the glass..... very similar to what you are describing. I haven't noticed any preference of the left or right, but then i haven't been looking either.
Thank you for the information about females! If i catch any i will definetly let them go, as I don't want to be responsible for needless octo death. I am a relatively new ceph caregiver so information like this is both appreciated and humbling
The traps I am thinking about making will either be made from 4" corrugated pipe or some terracotta pots i have seen that have narrowing mouths. I am leaning towards the terra cotta as i can easily get a rope around them and if I happen to forget where one is (which is pretty much going to happen ) or the float somehow disappears it will deteriorate on its own. If anyone has made any before please let me know. If i get a young male he is yours.
That would be stellar! Might even talk Neal into a trip to FL to get it (my sister is in Tampa and has been bugging us to come down).
One thing to clarify. You would not be killing the female. Death very shortly after hatching is the way of it. Very few of the hatchlings will survive in the wild but NONE will survive in our current setups so it is for the next generation that I suggest leaving the females. The males will die at about the same age (perhaps slightly older depending upon when the female "decides" to brood) but there is no parental care given by the male and he will mate with multiple females (number of sperm packets per male is not yet known so how many matings are possible for a single male has yet to be determined). Octopuses do not take mates. They are only one night stand companions . Even with the large egged species, we have not seen success with the limited number of attempts to mate any octos that have not been raised together. Of the successes, only merc sibbling pairings are journaled here in the past 3 years (I don't know about journaling prior).
Putting a self decomposing pot made from earthen materials would seem to be best but I don't know what kinds of treatments are used in making terra cotta today or from what country the soil is taken . If you can find locally made ones there may be less of a chance for undesirable additions. I do know that terra cotta is a preferred substrate for breeding with some of the more brackish freshwater fish and that octos have been noted by Jacques Cousteau to like clay pots (the ancient ones from ship recks). How useful those thoughts are, I don't know
I remember reading about the clay pots when I was working on our Cephalopods book. I found a paragraph about using pots in ancient and modern times in Peter Boyle and Paul Rodhouse's book, Cephalopods: Ecology and Fisheries :
"Earthenware pots and jars of various sizes, made to contain wine, oil, and other commodities throughout the Mediterranean, were probabluy the most widely used methods of catching octopuses. Laid on a rock bottom and lifted at regular intervals, they are an effective fishing method just in the same way as pots are used today almost everywhere in coastal regions."
There is a photo of commercial pots used for octopus trapping, and they seem to be clay, with handles, and have a wide mouth.
Octopuses never seem to leave the jars as they are being raised.
Alright, I have made some traps! I will post some pictures when i get home. I found a terra cotta ball (6" diameter) and i also used the base of an oil lamp (never used) that is ceramic. I found them both at target and have used polypropelyene rope to create the webbing/attach points. They turned out much nicer than i had expected.
March 30, 09
Karl has maintened his current level of behavior, and has eaten several medium sized (1 1/2'' across carapace) stone crabs along with 2 shrimp that were apprx 4'' in length. One was slightly over the other slighty under this measurement. One of the crabs had no legs, and no claws. Pretty horrible, as it was just a body in the refugium. My guess is the large stone crab i have living in there currently (2 1/2'' carapace) got into a fight and removed its limbs. I set the body next to Karl and he inspected it then ate it to my suprise. The night before last we had a unusually long play session where he seemed to enjoy climbing the glass and dropping into my hand. He also stopped moving and let me rub his mantle for awhile. He has also created a new lair in another part of the tank but has continued moving shells etc into his first cave.
Mantle measurement...... Am i supposed to measure from the eyes to the back or from behind the eyes to the back? I again recant my statement that it was under 3'' for when stationary it is definetly at this measurement or slightly over. I am no scientist but am trying to make objective observations
The traps have narrower openings than the commercial clay ones that nancy mentioned. My train of thought is that since I am trying to capture a young hummeilncki this setup might be more appealing to them. I will post the pictures in about 2 hours.
Nice job on the knots, I never could get the hang of tying decent looking ones. If the octos find the pots as attractive as I do, you may have a lot of fun! Good idea on trying two different materials too. You might experiment with putting the openings closer to the substrate and placing a right sized stopper (shell) near by. This may encourage a brooding female though but then you could watch them in the water (and start a journal!) and that would be cool too!
Your knots are very impressive, but I'm a little concerned about the jars. The ones I saw in the book I mentioned had much wider mouths. Octopuses won't leave the jars as they are raised, and seem to like the wider mouths just fine. So how would you get the octopus out of the jar, if one crawls in?
Researching the commercial traps, I found that they are attempting to catch larger octopuses (correct plural usage?). I may be wrong but the most commercially trapped octopus with this method is O. Vulgaris which is significantly larger than the O. Hummelincki I am trying to capture. The vulgaris (again i am new and my research limited so if I am incorrect please be gentle ) get around 3' fully grown, which is the size animal these traps have been designed for. O. Hummelincki juvenile males are what I am attempting to catch, and my train of thought was this trap size might be more suitable. I could be very wrong, as it happens often.
Actions that happen in the event of a brooding female:
I will leave said female in the trap and observe. This would include me starting a journal. Again, my goal is to capture young males, but the opportunity to see a female use the trap cannot be overlooked.
Removal..... In the event I capture a male i do not want to use traditional methods of removal i.e. hypersaline solution or urine. I will take the trap in a 5 gal bucket with water and acclimate in the trap. I will then place the trap in my tank and will attempt to coax out with food. I have ample space on one end of my tank to accomplish this. If it turns out to be female, then trap and octo return to river.
The only species of octopus i know of in the area are hummelincki and vulgaris. Large vulgaris are regularly caught down at Ponce Inlet on the jetties, and people have caught hummelincki up and down the river. If I do capture a young Vulgaris i will release it. My tank is large enough to accomodate one, but I really enjoy the interaction and personality of the Hummelincki.
That being said, I put the traps in the water yesterday under the dock. They are in close proximity to the sea wall/river wall which is comprised of large boulders. I currently get my food for Karl from here as there is an abundance of stone and blue crab, along with large hermit crabs. My crab trap is also off the end of this dock. I caught a medium sized decorator crab yesterday and Karl was more than happy to welcome it to the tank . There are also large snails but Karl has showed zero interest in these.
Karl ate the large stone crab that has been wreaking havoc in the refugium. I broke off a claw and fed it to the green brittle star. He is getting much more gentle with handfeeding. Karl reached out and slowly wrapped his tentacle around it and pulled it towards him with purpose, but not the excessive force he exhibits. This gentleness has occured off and on over the last 4 or 5 days. I have to get more food for hime today, so i need to catch the river at low tide. This will also be a good time to check the traps as i should be able to see them if the water quality is decent. It rained so that is probably wishful thinking. I thought about putting the terra cotta ball trap into the tank to see if Karl would get in, but i figured this would be a pretty dumb enterprise if he moved into it. This would make it an unsightly addition to the tank and not the river.